FORM has just announced structured workout support for their heads-up display swimming goggles. This marks the second major summer update for the goggles, which last summer got openwater swim support added (when paired with a Garmin or Apple Watch).
This new feature lets you pick workouts from a library of structured workouts, and then have the goggles walk you through each step, noting the specified intensity and stroke information – all in real-time. This feature is available for all FORM swim goggles (meaning, no new hardware here). However, there’s a catch: It’s not free. Instead, it’ll require a monthly (or annual) subscription, which is $19.99/month, or $14.99/month if billed annually (at $179/year). However, the company is offering a free 30-day trial to give things a whirl.
We’re gonna set that detail aside for the moment, but most certainly come back to it later in the post. In the meantime, let’s dive into how it works technically from my swim yesterday with it.
How it Works:
First up is that you’ll get your goggles and app all updated. That only takes a minute or two, and is just like normal. Once that’s done, the app will give you a heads-up about the new features:
Along the bottom you’ll see a new tab for ‘Workouts’. This is where you can sift through all the workouts. They’ve got a variety of categories and filters. Everything from a newly added section to the FORM favorites, and skill development:
Or, if you select ‘All Workouts’, you can then filter by another bucket of categories:
When you crack open a workout on the app it’ll show the details of the workout, including any pool toys needed.
If there’s a drill section, it’ll also include further details and a video of how to do that particular drill. This is good stuff, and well thought through:
From there, you can select to add a workout to your goggles. Up to 5 workouts can be stored on the goggles at once. I added a few for the limited time I was allotted at the pool:
With that, it was off to the pool I went. Now, taking picture of the inside of the display of goggles is darn-near impossible in bright sunlight given the way the display is. The good news is that FORM has a superimposed video from which I can steal/make screenshots and explain how it actually works. As I’ve said in the past, the clarity/overlay of what you see on these screenshots does actually match what you see in real-life. It’s crispy.
So when you power on the unit it’ll show a new ‘Workouts’ menu. You’ll tap that, and then you can select the specific workout you want:
Once you’ve loaded up the workout, it’ll tell you what to do for each step. Along the bottom you’ll see a progress bar too for the total workout. You can see your time up top, and how much distance you’ve done down below.
For example, in my workouts yesterday, it was mostly distance-based sets (e.g. 400m, 300m, etc…). It’d count-down as I went through the set, and then as I approached the end of each set, it’d tell me it was the last length.
For these sets that had no defined rest period duration, I’d then press the front button when I was ready to do the next one.
However, some 50’s I did at the end did have defined rest durations on them. The goggle would then count-down, which you can see below ‘Rest for 4’, is actually saying ‘Rest for 4…3….2…1…Go!’. And then off you go.
All of this works great. About the only mistake I made was the very first set my very first time, I didn’t realize I had a break coming up. So I just assumed I’d be going from my warm-up straight into my next set. Thus, I kept swimming. The goggles weren’t really impressed. They just ignored me and waited to tell me the next steps. Though they did actually record the correct distance, which I can see afterwards.
Speaking of which, post-swim I can see my lazy-pool workout dodging 15 other people in my lane (not kidding), shown on the app. I can then tap it to see more details. Also, note that it displays the exact workout name I swam (titled “4, 3, 2, 1…’):
And of course, all this then gets pushed to Strava as well, though, it would be cool if it pushed the exact workout name/title, like TrainerRoad/Peloton does. Right now it just pushes a workout graph:
And with that, that’s all there is to know. Note that there isn’t the ability to schedule workouts, nor any sort of training plan/system. It’s purely loading one-off workouts. Though, I’ve gotta believe longer-term having swim plans would be in the cards. Still, it works super well, and was silly-easy to use.
There’s no doubt that everyone is likely thinking the same thing: $20/month (or $15/month annually) is a steep price to pay for swim workouts. That’s at the upper end of monthly fitness subscription service pricing, and in most of those other cases, the platforms tend to have multiple sports, far more details around the guided components (such as video or step by step text background), and often also have calendars and post-workout feedback. For the most part, FORM has none of that. And that also ignores the fact that virtually every wearable device I know has structured workout support on it for free, whereas it’s the plans/workouts themselves that cost money. FORM doesn’t allow you to import workouts from TrainingPeaks or such. Thus, I think they overshot on pricing here. I’d have guessed $9.99/month (or $7.99 if annually) would have been more appropriate.
But then again, I’ve also said that FORM’s swim goggles seemed to be priced steeply at $199 given their features for a relatively small market size. Yet they’re still around two years later – with generally good reviews across the board. Of course, that just tells us that people who made the decision to buy are happy, but doesn’t tell us about the people that didn’t buy because it was priced too high.
Setting aside pricing though, the feature technically worked great. Perhaps almost too great. When I overshot on my first set, it acted like a salty old coach and just ignored me till I realized my sins. It just patiently waited for me to come back to the wall before we began again. I kinda had to laugh, as my watch was like “You be swimmin’, I be happy!”. Whereas FORM was all “Dumbass, I’m not talking to you till you get back to the wall.”
And once I got the hang of it after the first set, and understood how it was going to hand out each portion, it was spot-on. I liked the overall workout progress bar at the bottom. And there’s certainly more than enough workouts in the library to keep me busy for quite some time. It takes the most ardent Instagram scrollers to find the bottom of the list of ‘All Workouts’ in the app. Of course, there’s filters for those too – so you can get rid of the things that you aren’t going to swim.
Thus ultimately, while I’m not a fan of the price, I am a fan of the technical implementation of it – and the ease of use. All of that worked great.
With that – thanks for reading!
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Very disappointed with the price, I have a set of form goggles and don’t use them that often, this would’ve been great if I could’ve created my own workouts for free but absolute ripoff at that monthly price. I’ll just create some workouts on my Garmin and look at my wrist every once in a while…
Definitely not a fan of the price. At under $10 I’d rather pay for this than Strava.
I got my FORM goggles two weeks ago. I’ve only used them a couple of times for a few lanes because I have trouble adjusting to the very limited field of vision compared to my regular goggles. I understand that the technology demands more space than very slim goggles would allow, but I’ve gotten used to effortlessly keeping track of what’s ahead in my lane. That’s much harder with the FORM goggles and I wonder what it will be like in open water. I suppose I’ll get used to that.
Regarding the structured workouts: Why do I need a subscription for structured workouts? I totally appreciate the feature as such and as Matt has commented I would like to upload my own workouts (because I already have a training plan). I would even be willing to buy a set of workouts for $20, or possibly even $50, if I could re-use them at my own volition. A subscription service is a big no-no. I have a handful of subscription services that I really want or need. But with seemingly almost every company switching to a subscription service there’s a point for everyone where the available budget is already eaten up (automatically!) every month.
You will not see much in open water, especially with low sun in your face.
You’re also not gonna see numbers in a sun really. Or you will, but you won’t be bothered about data because sun will bother you more.
These goggles are unusable in sunny conditions.
Weird. I had zero issues with display visibility in the bright summer sun in the Mediterranean with them.
Now, as I’ve said all along, I don’t like the reduced visibility of the goggle shape itself compared to normal goggles – both forward-looking but more notably side to side.
This hasn’t been my experience. I swam this morning in an outdoor pool, facing north / south, into the sunrise. I have to turn up the brightness on the Form goggles to about 75% but it’s definitely readable.
I’ve had the same experience. It is true that in the pool it takes time getting used to and when there is a busy lane it’s not that great. I think that there is a lot of room for improvement in that area.
I’ve used them this summer in open water and in terms of sun they aren’t much different than any non polarized goggles. If you sighting into the glare you wont be able to see much no matter what.
However when direct sunlight is not present I have no reading the display. You just have to adjust the brightness to the higher level if it’s a very bright day.
I know I am late to the game but same for me. I have no problems with open water swims. Beyond lifting my head to see where I am going I don’t lift my head out of the water. When I am sighting I am not look at the numbers anyways. This is my third season with FORM and I would hate to train without them.
quite an impressive update having the ability to get the workouts on the HUD. My only issue is not being able to get custom workouts pushed to the goggles, i would possibly pay for the sub then but for now I’ll take the 30 day option. Hopefully custom workouts will come later down the line.
I hesitated two years before getting the goggles. Obviously, they are pricey. If the structured workouts were just included as base functionality that would be tipping the scales towards a reasonable price. Much easier to pull the trigger.
But with a subscription, since most buyers would probably want that functionality, you’re now looking at an even tougher sell. $199 plus $180 for workouts just in the first year. If you look at a probable lifetime of 5 years that’s $1100 for a pair of goggles. For that price I might find a retiree who’ll sit by the pool and shout at me “4, 3, 2, 1, go”. Or looking at it from another angle: If the subscription is so expensive that they could just include the goggles for free something seems unbalanced.
And if the subscription model is successful they’ll be creating their own competition since I’m sure others will jump on the bandwagon if you can make so much money with a bunch of swim workouts.
Thanks for the detailed write-up Ray, really appreciated.
My two cents: I’m a very happy FORM user and a triathlete thus I’m probably part of their ideal customer profile and maybe I’m too Dutch and therefore cheap, but I really won’t be getting the subscription. I already have training apps that somewhat achieve the same thing (and a coach but most triathletes probably don’t have that luxury).
Yes, I would appreciate simple instructions during my workout (by a sync with Garmin Connect Workouts / straining Peak workouts). Solving that problem probably is worth another 2,99 a month. I don’t need access to a workout library or videos. I feel they have missed the mark, and more importantly, the connection to their customer here.
Moreover, I’m really getting tired about hardware companies trying to sell software (who’s coming up with this, their VC?) Anybody with me?
Thank you Ray for the excellent review. As usual, you hit the nail on the head. The price really is out of this world. $20/month? Really? For displaying a few lines of swimming workouts? That’s the price of a Netflix plus Spotify account. Both. Getting you as many movies (costing millions to make) and music (still very expensive to make compared to swim workouts) as you can absorb.
I can’t help but wonder who will get such a subscription, I imagine very few people.
In fact I think Ray is still way too optimistic at $10/month. I would say $2/month would be realistic. In fact I think it should be included with these very expensive (but qualitative) swimming goggles.
Again, I am curious to see whether this will work out…
Thanks for the write up Ray. I’m a big fan of using my Form Goggles in the pool but… yeah… that’s a lot of $$$ for people who are already using swim workouts sourced from elsewhere – which, for the time being, it appears we can’t even load onto the goggles. Hopefully they’ll increase the functionality with time, but the price seems exorbitant
Any chance you’ll review under water headphones/ear buds? And see if Bluetooth works (with your phone in a buoy)? Or what getting music, podcasts onto them is like?
As a point of comparison, Zwift offers visual entertainment while training, structured training plans, racing, events, etc all for $15/month. And Form want $20/month just for structured workouts?
Form have seriously missed the mark here.
I think Form have to decide on which model they want:
Subscription: Free Goggles every 12-18 months… or whatever, all included software features.
Once-Off: Expensive Goggles, lots of included features.
I own Form Goggles, and a Polar Verity Sense, and think they do what they do well. Workouts feature is good and useful. So I’ve spent plenty on on swimming gear!
I won’t be paying for features. What next, bicycles with pay-per-use brakes?
This technology would also be interesting for people who wear glasses when running or cycling, just as the Companion App for Zwift, running or cycling training from Garmin can be transferred to glasses, possibly even cool sunglasses.
But then you probably don’t pay a lot of money for it 🙂
Well, if the Coros Pace 2 team has a crack at it, we might not have to pay too much for it.
There is one word to describe this subscription plan ….madness. I thought about getting the googles, which are quite expensive and I saw this and thought ‘they have lost their minds’. I already have a Training Peaks subscription and a Zwift subscription, I could pay 10 USD per month for Stryd which would get me much more bang for the buck if I wanted to pay for something else. Did I mention I have a coach? Oh right so after all that I should now pay 20USD per month to select some swim workouts? I could pay 15 USD per month for the Swim Smooth app which will analyze my workouts and my swim stroke via my Apple Watch or even less if I agree to an annual plan. Rant over.
I was one of the BETA testers since June and I really like what Form as done here. Workouts are a great added feature on the goggles. But there is still a lot of room for improvement like being able to set your own workouts and import workouts from third party apps like TP etc.
Agree that the subscription prices are way too high. Worth about $5 a month IMHO to access the preset workouts. Setting your own workouts and importing them from third party apps should be free. I have passed on my feedback to Form and hopefully they will listen.
I’m pretty stoked about what Form have launched here, especially considering they keep adding features without having to upgrade to new hardware (thus far).
Lots of people complain – probably rightly so – about the subscription cost. I think that’s a fair and correct complaint if one compares this to other services.
But I look at it from a different point of view where I’m unable due to varying work schedules to attend weekly squad swim sessions locally. One such squad session runs about AU$20, doing 1 each week csn get pricey quickly. So if I miss 1 or 2 of those sessions and can replace those by these self-coached workouts it works out the same or cheaper..
Regardless, I’m looking very much forward to my next trip to the pool!
I have had the goggles for a while and was on the workout beta program. Great device but I have declined to subscribe for two reasons… firstly, cost. Totally over priced, especially in subscription mode. Secondly, a random set of workouts that don’t reflect what my coach wants me to do, nor what I need to do, and no option to create my own or edit theirs. Perhaps a complete swimming environment with editable workouts, weekly programs for targeted events would be worth perhaps $10 a month… perhaps. Great technology totally missing the mark in pricing and functionality.
I have been using the goggles for a few days – my first impressions:
* Guided workouts are really a game changer and no-brainer – you just need the goggles – that’s it
* Very very good recognition of swim styles (in comparison to Garmin watches) – if you don‘t change style during a lane 🙂
* Ok, there are already some bugs and missing features:
– no automatic import to GC (only the other way) – This is really confusing, since other platforms are supported in this way
– manual import to GC works so far – but some values are not correct (e.g. overall time with movement and average pace with movement)
– you cannot edit recorded activities in the Formswim app
– Some Garmin watches are not supported for the openwater datafield (unfortunately mines – Enduro and 945LTE)
– And what I really miss: Use of self created workouts!
Thanks for the feedback. When you say, no automatic import to Garmin Connect (I suppose that is what GC stands for), what do you mean by “only the other way”?
Yes, GC = Garmin Connect
What I mean with ‚only the other way’: You can connect Formswim app with GC. But it is only possible to import swim activities from GC to Formswim app.
The subscription absolutely makes buying these googles a non-starter. When I first saw this post I was super excited about being able to see my workouts easily; but to find that I essentially have to re-buy the goggles every year (on top of the 10x prices vs normal goggles) means i won’t even consider buying a pair of these.
I like the idea to synchronize TrainingPeaks swim workouts with my Form. And YES I would pay a one time fee to enable. I don’t need a fifth offer of an trainings plan part. I am sure that pure swimmer could like the trainings from Form, but it does not make sense for all the anther who already use a complete plan.
Will you also be reviewing the Phlex Edge anytime soon?
I could see doing it as the weather gets worse and forces me towards the pool (versus openwater swimming).
I would be interested to learn what they mean by realtime heart rate. The device doesn’t seem to have a display. The recording obviously must be realtime, but how am I gonna see the numbers during the swim? Take the phone with me?
I keep looking at these goggles and still find myself not hitting the add to cart button. There are a number of issues identified above (and in the comments), the biggest being pricing. $30 / month (Canadian$) is way too much for something that I cannot customize and import my own (sorry, my coach’s) workouts into. I like the idea for tracking splits and pace times, but not enough to fork over the cash.
An aside, I have no issue spending money on my toys, this one just seems to be the one I can’t justify to myself.
Hey DCR – wondered what you make of the recent changes to FORM’s pricing model – it’s changed 3 times in the last 6 months! First, they introduced subscription pricing which included the goggles for free – £17/month here in the UK, minimum 6 month commitment. If you dropped the sub, you’d lose access to the app (workout library and data analysis) but otherwise the googles continued to work just fine – real-them metrics etc. Second, they quietly raised that price to £22/month. Third, now if you cancel the sub, you lose everything – even the real-time metrics. So your goggles are essentially useless.
I understand they move to a subscription model, everyone’s doing it. But it feels to me like they are just shooting in the dark with their pricing. The £17/month option was great (I signed up myself as did several of my friends) but I’m guessing they quickly realized they had been too generous. But they’ve now gone too far in the opposite direction – this latest iteration will turn people away. The £22/month was probably about right
They have finally listened.
They have changed their pricing model to:
– 228 usd/240 euro which includes membership for 1 year.
– After that you keep all the base features:
In-goggle real-time metrics
Activity tracking (pool / open water / swim spa)
Smartwatch compatible for open water GPS tracking Apple & Garmin
Community features to connect & share swims
Detailed post-swim analysis (in app)
– And drop the membership features:
1,000+ in-goggle guided workouts
30+ coach-designed fitness & training plans
Custom workout builder
– You can keep the membership features by paying 15 usd per month
I have been using the Form goggles daily for over a year -the metrics are amazing! The goggles itself as compared to regular swimming goggles are awful. Our eyes aren’t symmetric, but theses goggles are -making a poor fitting on top of the narrow/limited view. I have had my best 70.3 swims with these goggles thanks to the metrics, but I swim pretty much blinded on some courses… now, the compulsory subscription to have real-time data of +200 bucks a year is nonsense… hoping for “real” alternative to smart swimming goggles that supports open water.
Actually, I haven’t found that to be the case. This morning, I got up early and swam in a north/south facing outdoor pool, greeting the dawn. The Form goggles are legible, but only until I increase the brightness to roughly 75%.
Is there any coupon code to buy the goggles on any website still??
Would really appreciate any help! thanks!
Use ” EFFORTLESS” for 15% discount.